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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Concrete Heartbeat

Blackly cynical but ultimately redemptive stories reverberate through the intimate space of the Old Fitzroy in a deft exploration of urban dwelling with all its challenges, pleasures and angst.
By Hilary Simmons
March 21, 2011
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By Hilary Simmons
March 21, 2011
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The huge clock in front of the Dymocks store chimes into your conversation with a barista to tell you it's almost 9am. The cracked concrete yawns; girders and glass shudder into the waterside. Each deep insuck of the morning swell sends fleshy seaweed seething into view. The water taxis wallow under the weight of office workers; building walls smell of creosote and ants.

This is the city that Mark Haslam is talking about — a place of noise and dirt and extraordinary power. A place with a Concrete Heartbeat; a unique rhythm and energy. It could be any city across the world; its name is unimportant.

At the Old Fitzroy Theatre, the stage is bare save for some milk crates lightly daubed with paint. Mark Haslam sways in front of a microphone, weighing up his audience. He throws a long weighty loop of words over us, somehow saved to rhythmic subliminal disc. During Concrete Heartbeat, Haslam takes on the identity of eight different city dwellers. He portrays a cubicle worker and a city worker in Def Jam style with equal panache. His deft exploration of urban dwelling, with all its challenges, pleasures and angst, is blended with a bunch of cut up breaks and hip hop beats. Blackly cynical but ultimately redemptive stories reverberate through the intimate space of the Old Fitzroy; the frieze of images emphasises the dynamism of the performance.

Somebody who bears heartfelt witness to the symbiotic relationship between people and the city that, without them, is merely concrete and glass is worth checking out. Take the pulse of our urban precinct and play with the possibilities of being an urban individual at the Old Fitzroy Theatre.

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